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Festivals & Cultural Events in Bhutan

Imbibed in the rich culture and blessed with a number of reasons to celebrate, Bhutan is not for nothing called the land of happiness. This Buddhist country never misses a reason to show gratitude be it towards Guru Rinpoche/Rimpoche (Guru Padmasambhava) or Mother Nature and it is evident with a large number of festivals it holds in a calendar year. Therefore, the yearly festival calendar of Bhutan is replete popular festival months and worth seeing events & activities. Almost every month there is a religious celebration in Bhutan called Tshechu which means ‘tenth day,’ corresponding to the birthday of Guru Rimpoche. In each Tshechu, the mask dance performed by monks (at the monasteries) is the prime attraction. The theme of the dance is mostly a popular legend/tale dating as far as the 8th century. Amongst the popular Tshechus in Bhutan are Paro and Thimphu Tshechu attended by a large number of people across the country who come with the belief that their sins will be washed by witnessing this event. These festivals are also amongst the top tourist attractions and a reason to travel to Bhutan for a festival holiday. Apart from the mask dance, other forms of Bhutanese dances and entertainment activities are also held during the Tshechus.

Apart from the popular Tsechus, a year in Bhutan is filled with many other celebrations that are a must-see. The Rhododendron festival near Thimphu, where around 46 species of rhododendron are exhibited, is one of the major festivals in Bhutan. A similar festival is Matsutake Mushroom Festival in Ura Valley where 40 species of mushroom are on display. In Ura, another grand festival takes place annually, known as Ura Yakchoe, in which the invoking and escorting of the statue of Chhana Dorje are the major attractions. It is also one of the most colourful festivals in Bhutan. The Haa Summer Festival is a popular tourism festival that gives an insight into the rich culture and history of Bhutan. Another worth seeing festival in Bhutan is Jhomolhari Mountain Festival where both nature and culture are celebrated including the existence of snow leopards. The Tour of the Dragon is an unusual festival to see in Bhutan, it is a bicycle race that commences from Bumthang and ends in the capital city, Thimphu via four major mountain passes in the country. There is so much the country has in store when it comes to festivals. Get all the insights on the Tshechus and other festivals in the country along with Bhutan Festivals dates of 2020, and major highlights of each festivity in this section.

Mark Your Calendar For These Top 10 Upcoming Festivals in Bhutan in 2020

S.No Festival Name Festival Dates
Starts on Ends on
1 Talo Tshechu Festival 01 March 2020 04 March 2020
2 Punakha Drubchen Festival 02 March 2020 04 March 2020
3 Punakha Tshechu Festival 05 March 2020 07 March 2020
4 Tharpaling Thongdrol Festival 09 March 2020 09 March 2020
5 Ura Yakchoe Festival 04 April 2020 08 April 2020
6 Paro Tshechu Festival 04 April 2020 08 April 2020
7 Chorten Kora Festival 08 April 2020 08 April 2020
8 Jakar Tshechu Festival 23 October 2020 27 October 2020
9 Jambay Lhakhang Drup 31 October 2020 03 November 2020
10 Black Necked Crane Festival 11 November 2020 11 November 2020

Must See Tourism Festivals & Cultural Events in Bhutan


Punakha Drubchen Festival Bhutan

Date (Mar 02-04, 2020)


Honouring the victory of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal of Punakha over Tibetan Forces, Punankha Drubchen is celebrated annually in Bhutan as a major festival. The masked dance in which the story of the 17th century battle is re-enacted, is the major attraction of this festival in Bhutan. The venue of this festival that takes place in the month of March, is the imposing Punakha Dzong which is situated at the confluence of two rivers.

Punakha Tshechu Festival Bhutan

Date (Mar 05-07, 2020)


Dubbed an important Tsechu (festival) in Bhutan, Punakha Tshechu marks the unfurling of the sacred Thongdrol of Guru Rimpoche/Padmasambhav. It is believed having a mere sight of the Thongdrol (large tapestry) washes away the sins of the people. Introduced in 2005, Punakha Tshechu honours the Buddhist teachings and contributions of Zhabdrung Rimpoche. The festival takes place soon after the popular Punakha Drubchen and in it too, the mask dance is the major attraction.


A one-day festival in Bumthang, Tharpaling Thongdrol’s primary attraction is the unfurling of a giant Thongdrol or Thangaka (applique silk work). This popular festival in Bhutan takes place in Tharpaling and Chodarek Monastery which is seated on a high ridge overlooking the Chumey and Gaytsa villages. Before the festival, 10 days prayer ceremonies called the Moelam Chenmo are held by the monks for the people of the villages.

Gomphu Kora Festival Bhutan

Date (Apr 01 -03, 2020)


Marking as the day of the triumph of good over evil, the Gomphukora festival is an important religious festival in Bhutan that is held in Trashiyangtse. The festival commemorates Guru Rinphoche who defeated an evil spirit known by the name Dikparaza or Myongkha. The major attraction of the festival is the circumambulation performed by devotees in the memory of Guru Rinpoche who is believed to have sat in medidation near a cave here.

Talo Tshechu Festival Bhutan

Date (Apr 01 -03, 2020)


A three-day religious festival in Bhutan, Talo Tshechu takes place in the Monastery of the same name a short distance away from Punakha. This main highlights of this popular festival in Bhutan, are the mask dance, atsara (clown) dance, and the sacred Zhungdra (classical dance) by the Talo dance troops. Making this festival even more special are the he three songs of Mani Sum, which comprise the Zhundra set, which are performed at the end of each day of the festival.

Gasa Tshechu Festival Bhutan

Date (Apr 01 -03, 2020)


A four-day festival, Gasa Tsechu is the biggest festival of the tiny district of Gasa. This festival in northwestern Bhutan takes place in the villages of Laya and Lunana. The major highlights in Gasa Tshechu are the local folk dances along with mask dances. Gasa is a community of highlanders who are known for their distinctive women dresses and jewellery.

Zhemgang Tshechu Festival Bhutan

Date (Apr 01 -03, 2020)


Reckoned the biggest festival of the remote Zhemgang District, Zhemgang Tshechu commemorates the birth anniversary of Guru Rinpoche also known as Guru Padmasambhava. The major attractions of this festival in Bhutan are the mask dance through which ancient tales are narrated and the unfurling of a giant Thongdrol/Thangaka. The festival takes place in Zhemgang Dzong for three days in month of March/April.

Paro Tsechu Festival Bhutan

Date (Apr 04-08, 2020)


One of the top two famous religious festivals in Bhutan, Paro Tshechu is held at the imposing Paro Dzong. The festival is being celebrated from 17th century with the consecration of Paro Dzong in 1644. It is a 5-day celebration in which mask dances are performed and on the final day the sacred and impressive Thongdrol (silk applique work) is unfurled for the people who come from all parts of the country.

Chorten Kora Festival Bhutan

Date (Apr 08 & 22, 2020)


Also known as Dakpa Kora Festival, Chorten Kora Festival is the oldest religious festival in eastern Bhutan. The festival is held in Trashiyantse where people from Arunachal Pradesh also known as Dakpa visit to circumambulate Dakpa Kora. The Bhutanese pilgrims later join the Dakpas in circumambulation. This festival in Bhutan is dedicated to a young girl from Tawang who agreed to be buried alive in the stupa.

Domkhar Tshechu Festival Bhutan

Date (May 03-05, 2020)


A three-day festival, Domkhar Tshechu is celebrated in Chumey Valley of Bumthang District. This famous event in Bhutan takes place in Domkhar Monastery which was built by Serkhong Truelku during the 18th century. The monastery is also considered to be his residence. The main attractions of Domkhar Tshechu are the Cham Dances (mask dances), folk dances, and the unfurling of large Thongdrols on the last day of the festival.

Ura Yakchoe Festival Bhutan

Date (May 04-08, 2020)


Celebrated in Ura Valley in Bumthang, Ura Yakchoe is a popular religious event in Bhutan. In this five-day festival, the major attraction is the invoking and escorting of the statue of Yidam Chhana Dorjee, a manifestation of Vajrapani from Gaythen to Ura. Earlier, Ura Yakchoe was celebrated to appease and make offerings to the God of Yaks as well as celebrate the spiritual heritage during the harvest season.

Nimalung Tshechu Festival Bhutan

Date (Jun 30 -1 July, 2020)


Celebrated in the fifth month of Buddhist calendar, Nimalung Tshechu is yet another important event in Bhutan. This three-day festival takes place in Nimalung Lakhang in Chumey Valley, Bumthang. The major attractions of this religious festival is the unfurling of the Guru Tshengye Thongdrol along with his cham dance. The other mask and folk dances are also performed during Nimalung Tshechu.


A one-day event that is celebrated in the popular Kurjey Lakhang with much pomp and show by the people of Jakar and Kurjey villages, Kurjey Tshechu marks the birth anniversary of Guru Rimpoche also known as the second Buddha. The highlights of this tshechu are the cham and folk dances. The festival is concluded with the display of a large Thongdrol, a mere sight of which is believed to cleanse one from all the sins.

Haa Summer Festival Bhutan

Date (July 12-14, 2020)


Reckoned to be amongst the most popular tourism festivals in Bhutan, Haa Summer Festival offers the best glimpse of the country’s culture, traditions, beliefs, and art and craft. This colourful festival which takes place in the surreal Haa Valley also offers visitors a chance to experience the Bhutanese hospitality by spending a night in a homestay.

Geneka Mushroom Festival Thimphu

Date (Aug 15-16, 2020)


Held in a secluded village of Genekha in Thimphu district, Mushroom Festival is a must-see in Bhutan. It is a two-day festival in which a variety of mushrooms are exhibited with Tricholoma Matsutake species being the highlight. Known to be grown only the forests, this species of mushroom is famed for its succulent flavour. In the festival cultural programs are held along with mushroom picking activity and tasting of Matsutake mushroom soup.


Often regarded as an ultra marathon, Tour of the Dragon is a unique bike race event in Bhutan in which the contestants have to cover 200+ km in a single day, reckoned to be the one of the toughest one-day mountain bike races in the world, it begins from the beautiful destination of Bumthang in Bhutan and concludes in the capital city, Thimphu. The participants have to cover a distance of 268 km and has to cross four high mountain passes.

Wangdue Tshechu Festival Bhutan

Date (Sep 24-26, 2020)


Known for the Raksha Mangcham or the Dance of the Ox, Wangdue Tshechu or Wandue Tshechu is celebrated in the district of the same name in central Bhutan. It is a five-day celebration that is marked by mask or cham dances and the unfurling of a giant Thongdrol of Guru Tshengye at the last day. The festival which use to take place in Wangdue Phodrang is now held at Tencholing Army Ground since the former was burned in a fire.


Organized to raise awareness about the endangered black necked cranes who are inseparable part of the local community during the winter season. In this festival which is held in the courtyard of Gangtey Goenpa in Phobjikha Valley cultural programs, folk dances and mask dances are performed by the local people. Crane dances and conservation-themed dramas and songs are also performed by the school children.

Jambay Lhakhang Drup Bhutan

Date (Oct 31-03 Nov, 2020)


Held in the premises of a 7th century Jambay Lhakhang in Jakar, Jambay Lhakhang Drup is one of the unique festivals in Bhutan due to the performance of a sacred Tercham (naked dance) which was initiated by Terton Dorje Lingpa. During the festival Mewang (fire blessing) ritual is also performed for the infertile women to be blessed with children. Other dances performed during this festival is Macham, Ging Tsholing, Dramtse Ngacham, Zhana Cham.

Jakar Tshechu Festival Bhutan

Date (Oct 23-27, 2020)


Celebrated in the Jakar Dzong or “the Dzong of the white bird”, Jakar Tshechu is a popular festival in Bumthang. It is a five-day event which commences from the 7th day of the ninth month of Bhutanese lunar calendar. The festival that is held in a dzong that is perched on a hillock and has a reservoir from which in ancient people drew water during the battles. The main highlights of the festival are the cham dances, folk dances, and the exhibition of a large thangaka of Guru Rimpoche.

Rhododendron Festival Bhutan

Date (Apr 21-23, 2020)


A famed tourism festival in the Punakha region, Rhododendron Festival is a must-see in Bhutan. Held in the Lamperi Botanical Garden, this festival is about exhibiting 29 out of 46 species of rhododendron that grow in Bhutan. At this three-day festival in the month of May, rhododendron garden walk and exhibition, traditional games, local culture and cuisines, cultural programmes, and arts and crafts are the major attractions.